Traditional Anglicans are Going by The Book

A group of clergymen has broken away from the established Anglican church in Australia to form the “Diocese of the Southern Cross.” Former Sydney Archbishop Glenn Davies is its first Bishop. The announcement was made at the recent Gafcon Australasia Conference held in Canberra.

What’s it all about? Well, to be clear, I’m not an authority on doings within the Anglican church. I’m just a parishioner. But I have enough understanding to have a view on the issue at stake. The issue is the authority and relevance of the Bible in today’s Christian world. Note I said ‘Christian world’. Clearly, if you are not a Christian the Christian Bible has no relevance in any world.

The belief of those who’ve broken away and also of GAFCON (the Global Anglican Futures Conference) to which they are aligned, is that the Bible is the sole, defining and immutable authority on which Christianity is based. It anchors the faith. It is the faith. It can’t be remodelled to suit prevailing fashions or lifestyles. It is tremendously inconvenient.

It’s fair to say that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops, which he convenes, representing the established Church, is not as wedded to a literal reading of the books of the New Testament as is GAFCON. Hence GAFCON; established in 2008.

Trouble had been brewing, but the trigger for the breakaway seems to have been the decision at the (Australia-wide) General Synod in May concerning marriage. Extraordiny on its face, a majority could not be found in the House of Bishops to support a motion affirming that marriage was between a man and a woman. The vote was 12 to 10 against. The vote in the House of Clergy was 70 to 39 in favour and in the House of Laity 63 to 47 in favour.

A couple of things. First, even if the motion had secured a bare majority among bishops, the number among bishops, clergy and the laity who believe that marriage can be otherwise than between a man and a woman is surprising, to say the least. Remember these men and women aren’t plucked randomly from the street. They would call themselves practising Christians. Why else would they be attending the General Synod.

It is made clear in the Bible that marriage is between a man and woman. Take, as one example, this well-known passage from Matthew 19:4-5; in which Jesus draws on Genesis:

Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 

 Moreover, it is made equally clear that homosexual sex is sinful. Consider, for example, Romans 1:26-27:

 For this reason, God gave them up to dishonourable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

Perspective is called for; no one should feel singled out. We’re all sinners. All fornication is sinful. Many of us are either past or present fornicators. But, as Christians, whatever the sin, we shouldn’t celebrate it or cause or cajole or force others to celebrate it. Or expect it to be blessed by the Church in promising to engage in it. Any questions?

This brings me to the second thing. From where exactly do those Christians who oppose the Bible on these matters get their scriptural guidance? From the UNHCR, from left-wing media, from Twitter or TikTok or LGBTQ activists? I simply don’t know. The Anglican Bishop of Ballarat was reported by The Australian as saying that the breakaway group were “people who read the Bible in a narrow fundamentalist way.” The Bishop captures the established view fairly well, I think. There’s a resonance with the legal debate around the US Constitution.

There are literalists-cum-originalists who try to stay as close as possible to the Constitution as written. Then there are those who regard the Constitution as a living document to be interpreted in light of the changing times and moods. The problem with the latter approach is that it gives rise to fancy. Thus the 14th Amendment can be tortuously construed as supporting rights to abortion and gay marriage, despite the Amendment being absolutely silent on both matters. So back to the Bible.

What to do about those inconvenient passages? Apparently, to avoid offending modern sensibilities, they are to be interpreted not narrowly but broadly; whatever that means. And the goal? Presumably, to turn Christianity into a kumbaya movement by softening Christ’s message; by allowing, even blessing, what is plainly proscribed. That process has no natural end. The very tenets of Christianity can be torn down piece by piece, inconvenient truth by inconvenient truth, until nothing is left.

When all is said and done, the Southern Cross Diocese and GAFCON have simply stayed true to the faith; as written in the Bible, not as some woke Anglican clergy would like it to be written. By not standing resolutely and bravely behind eternal Biblical truths, the established Church has created the schism, not those who’ve had the strength of character to break away.


19 thoughts on “Traditional Anglicans are Going by The Book

  • Ian MacDougall says:

    WWith all the authority vested in me as an ex-Christian and ex-Anglican (though never of the evangelical persuasion, nor ever with much time for St Paul) I think this is the Anglican Church trying to grope its way back to the Founder’s essential doctrine and belief, as encapsulated in that one sentence: “The Kingdom of God is within you.”
    He possibly picked that up in the missing and undocumented years of his youth learning about the wider world through word of mouth, or perhaps Himself travelling, on the ‘Great Silk Road;’ that collection of routes connecting the Holy Land with the Far East, where Buddhism and Taoism had ideological supremacy.

    The religiously inclined might be interested in this. Follow up at
    Then again, we believe what we want to believe. So maybe not.

  • Bernard says:

    Peter, I agree with most of what you say but I understand what has happened differently. I don’t think that the Diocese of the Southern Cross is a schismatic movement. I think that it seeks to remain within the Anglican Church in Australia, offering episcopal oversight to churches that disagree with their appointed bishop on a number of issues, foremost amongst which is the issue of same sex marriages. At present, this Australia-wide diocese is recognised in Australia by Sydney and Tasmania. Other dioceses are sympathetic and it is quite possible that they might also recognise it. In my view, it offers a middle ground, a possible solution, for this issue, allowing these churches to remain within the Anglican Church of Australia, in spite of the screams and hectoring of “woke” bishops seeking to bully these churches and accusing them, together with the dioceses that support them, of being a “cult,” rather than seeking to accept a compromise that might keep under the same Anglican label churches that differ markedly in their views on some issues, in particular that of same-sex marriages.

  • cbattle1 says:

    Peter, you missed a couple of passages from the Old Testament. According to the King James Bible, at Leviticus 18:22, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination.” At Leviticus 20:13, it is taken up another notch: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

    A more modern translation of the Bible, such as the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, puts Leviticus 20:13 as: “And when a man lies down with a male the same as one lies down with a woman, both of them have done a detestable thing. They should be put to death without fail. Their own blood is upon them.”

    While the Islamic State and other Fundamentalist Regimes may hold true to the Mosaic Law, it has long been the practice in the Judeo-Christian world to employ a less harsh application of those proscriptions.

    Nonetheless, how is it possible to go from the obligation of imposing the death penalty for a homosexual act, to that of celebrating and sanctifying the marriage between two men? That is a quantum-leap that is beyond my comprehension!

  • Daffy says:

    @cbattle1; I wouldn’t dignify the New World Translation as a translation; it is a sectarian tract produced by the heretical Jehovah’s Witnesses….they of the cadence of failed prophesies.

  • Lewis P Buckingham says:

    Recently I attended Catholic Mass in the cathedral at Ballarat. The ‘Voice’ of the laity was promulgated at that Mass. One of the demands was ‘that the Catholic Church be open to women belonging to ALL positions in the Church’ or words to that effect. A 60 something lady with a certain punch put the ALL into it.
    I find that the Dogma is strong in Ballarat.
    Perhaps the next female bishop for the CC is waiting in the wings at Ballarat.
    Who knows, maybe Pope material.
    But then Peter, ‘Upon this rock………’
    The Tiber awaits.

  • cbattle1 says:

    Daffy: Yes, the “New World Translation” is a J.W. production, and was given to me gratis by a Witness. However, checking the “plain English” type Bible translations on the website search engine tool, I find that they all concur that Leviticus 20:13 is mandating the death penalty for the proscribed sexual conduct. It is written!


    There’s no salvation for CINO’s. It’s the broad highway for them, not the narrow gate. Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV) says: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few”.

  • padmmdpat says:

    What’s the real issue here? It’s not same sex marriage or fidelity to the bible. They are symptoms of a deeper malaise – one that has dogged the Anglican Church since it began. The issue is two fold. Firstly, the Anglican Church cannot exercise authority in the theological and ecclesial sense. It cannot teach with confidence and State ‘ this is the faith handed on to us by Christ and the apostles.’ It has no magisterium. Hence they have ‘opinions’ and fudge it by saying we can hold things together by accepting diversity. Well the simple fact is, a doctrine is either right or wrong. It can’t be right in one place and wrong in another. This uncomfortable fact is ignored. And the reality is that Anglicanism has been in ipso factual schism for a long time and there is no way out of it. The other crisis facing Anglicanism is the same crisis faced by all Christian churches in every age. It’s a crisis of contemplation. Quite simply it’s members fall short of holiness. As in all churches many people turn up on Sunday but scratch the surface and you’ll find few who have made a conscious act of the will and become disciples of Christ by giving there lives to him. They prefer rather to be ‘good Anglicans’. Anyone who has taken part in an Anglican synod will know what I mean. Lobbying, politicking, scheming and then throwing a bucket of holy water (or for evangelicals, some of that pious argot they use) over the process and claiming it to be the work of the Holy Spirit. And the Catholic Church is well and truly heading down the same path.

  • norsaint says:

    My favourite interpretation of the said passage is:
    “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind, it is abomination”. It usually helps quieten the Wokesters down, temporarily at least.
    One does have to wonder though if the ghastliness of the modern woman isn’t helping to push this particular depravity along.

  • whitelaughter says:

    Quite likely norsaint; and also the effeminate excuses for modern men?

  • simonbenson65 says:

    I am a lifelong Anglican. Happily, though, I am a committed Christian first and an Anglican second. The denominations, in my view, should always be secondary to our primary responsibility to Christ. I’m aware why we have them: there is a need to belong to a church whose mission statements and statements of faith and belief align with God’s word. No question. More, the denominations keep one another honest! But the great problem with Anglicanism as a denomination worthy of the name ‘Christian’ is that Jesus Christ has for many years only been “a” way – not “the” way – to God the Father (cf. John 14:6). And so the Anglican Church, as a mainstream denomination, has itself walked away from the (not ‘a’) core tenet of biblical truth. Enter GAFCON. I have no doubt that as far as splits in churches go, the split in the Anglican Church is as big as splits can get. On one side, there are those who agree with the heretical and disgraceful ruling of the church’s highest judicial body (the ‘Appellate Tribunal’) that the Anglican constitution has room to “bless” same sex marriage. The members of that panel – save for the one dissentient – should be ashamed of themselves, especially the alleged churchmen on it, who you’d think would know better. Against the apostates is GAFCON’s Diocese of the Southern Cross (DSC), whose adherents hold firm to biblical truth on marriage and other issues (eg they also oppose women’s ordination). I also have no doubt that the former, like the Uniting Church, will die on the vine – God tends to give apostates, and the churches they preside over, up – and that the latter (DSC) will be the only continuing or ‘real’ Anglican Church in Australia and it will flourish. The sooner the Sydney Diocese sells Anglican Retirement Villages, the need for which has expired given that most ministers nowadays own at least one home, and throws the proceeds of sale behind DSC, the sooner the DSC will be able to acquire and build churches of its own.
    ps Lewis P Buckingham – when Jesus said “upon this rock” (Matthew 16:18), the original Greek text uses the neuter form of the word for “rock”, not the masculine, so He was not referring to Peter at all. It’s a common misconception.

  • padmmdpat says:

    Simonbenson65, what rock was Jesus referring to then?

  • Paul W says:

    Greek words don’t change gender.

  • Searcher says:

    Hi simonbenson65. I am no expert on the original text, nor on the fine points of the grammar here, but what I can gather is that the form is feminine, not neuter as you assert? Liddell & Scott give several usages depending on gender. The word ‘lithos’ also seems relevant. Your thoughts?

  • guilfoyle says:

    Dear sinonbenson65 and Searcher – The Greek for the text: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church” (Mt 16:18) is masculine and feminine respectively, and reads: You are Petros (masc) and on this petra (fem) I will build my Church. Thus, in Greek, when used as the name of Peter it is masculine but in application to the noun ‘rock” it is feminine.

    The problem that has been mistakenly conflated here historically though, is that Christ spoke in Aramaic, and the Aramaic word meaning “rock” is “Cephas”, which does not have masculine or feminine form. Therefore, in Aramaic, Jesus’ words were: “You are Cephas (rock), and on this Cephas (rock) I will build my Church.” St Paul specifically refers to Peter in that name in one of his epistles.

    It is clear, once one leaves behind the complexities of the translations, that Christ is talking of the person of Simon-Peter and that He is establishing an office. It is significant that this statement was made at Caesarea Phillippi, at which was situated a large temple overlooking a cliff dedicated to secular rulers who were self-proclaimed gods – called divi filius or “son of god”. Christ was essentially saying, when He asked the question, “Who do you say that I am?” – who is the true Son of God? And it was at this place that Peter replied that “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” – the word “living” is of significance, in its contrast to the idolatry of the elevation of the secular Roman rulers into politically – contrived gods. That is, by those words, Peter set Christ apart from the Roman emperor, as a false claimant to be a god.

    It is also significant that earlier generations of pagan worshippers had sacrificed children at this place and that it featured a spot that was believed to lead to the underworld. Hence, Christ’s words: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

    The giving of the keys was the handing over of an office, reflecting the office of prime minister mentioned in Isaiah: As Eliakim was a spiritual father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah (the House of Judah refers to the kingdom of Hezekiah), the power of Eliakim was said to be:

    “I will place on his [Eliakim’s] shoulders the key of the house of David and he shall open and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.” (Is 22: 22). This is reflected in Jesus words to Peter: ” I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mt 16:19). “Binding and loosing” in Temple Judaism referring to royal authority. Christ also made it clear that it was necessary that He go to Jerusalem and suffer and die, and, to Peter’s objection, replied to him: “Get thee behind me Satan!” – specifically saying that, in order to follow Him, one must pick up one’s cross and withstand the persecutions of the secular rulers – it was not to see the world through secular eyes, but rather through the eyes of the death and resurrection of Christ on the Cross.

  • Lewis P Buckingham says:

    simonbenson65 – 29th August 2022
    All I did was ask Peter to consider swimming the Tiber and become a Catholic.
    It was a play on his name and of that of St Peter.
    I didn’t mention any rocks, Aramaic or Greek, you filled that bit in.
    As Padmm..points out the problem he has, as I, is the Lambeth exegesis, explained to me in 1969 by a committed middle of the road Anglican.
    One of my high church friends was also heavily involved in C of E politics, who explained it all.
    It could not last.
    I recall a Catholic priest once saying that the only thing that the Christian churches could all agree upon was that Christ was born.
    Those of the Ordinate and speakers at the recent Campion College including George Pell, for which there is limited online information, are aware of Peter’s misgivings.
    As has been said ‘There but for the grace of God go we’.

  • guilfoyle says:

    Lewis P Buckingham – that is exactly right- the German bishops would have us go down exactly the same path and would then call the traditional Catholics ‘schismatic’.

  • padmmdpat says:

    Across the years I have frequently called to mind something Dorothy Day said. “The Church is my mother and sometimes my mother is a whore. “

  • guilfoyle says:

    padmmpat- That is priceless!

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